Off The Wall Magazine Q&A with Jane Dahmen

Maine.  In 1980, my husband, Joe,  and I sailed the waters of Penobscot Bay while vacationing with our family. I sketched while we sailed, inspired by the vibrant blues, whites, and greens of the surrounding landscape. Back home in Concord, Massachusetts, I turned the sketches into paintings. I live here full-time now but I still walk on our local conservation land and see paintings everywhere. 


Inspiration.  I am driven to bring a scene that inspires me to life filtered through my own sensibility: space, form, color and surface tension evolve as I paint.  The wet colors look alive.


Medium.  Twenty years ago I switched from oils to acrylic paints for health reasons. Being man made, acrylics are versatile, and manufacturers are always coming up with new colors, new additives, and new types of paint, such as shiny liquids and shimmery fluorescents.


Art Hero.  While attending college, I’d visit paintings by Marsden Hartley every day in the school art museum. David Hockney thrills me with his outrageous expression in both design and color. I also became enamored with modernists like Henri Matisse, Paul Klee, Raoul Dufy, Joan Miró, Marc Chagall, Vincent Van Gogh, and Pierre Bonnard.


Studio.  My studio is in my home. I can paint late at night, or all morning in my pajamas if I feel like it. I have a large space with full-spectrum lights, seven windows, and high ceilings. My studio is my sacred space.


Where in Maine.  I love where I live in Newcastle. The midcoast is important to my work. I resonate with the landscape here. Few places in my travels instigate my creative juices the way the Maine landscape does.


Fun Fact.  I hold a series of artist conversations at the Lincoln Theater in Damariscotta called “Talking Art in Maine, Intimate Conversations.”  We’ve hosted curators such as Sharon Corwin of the Colby Museum, Suzette McAvoy of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Mark Bessire of the Portland Museum of Art, and artists such as Alex Katz, Kathryn Bradford, Sam Cady, Lois Dodd, Yvonne Jacquette, Eric Hopkins, and John Bisbee.


Education.  Studying art history with professor James Carpenter at Colby College was formative. I have a huge collection of art books covering all kinds of artists. I also attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.




Learn more about this artist:


Available artwork


Radio Maine podcast interview #04


Radio Maine podcast interview #129


Art Matters blog article


Off The Wall magazine Q&A


Micro-documentary film